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Planning Partnership

138 East Court Street, Rm 807, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1224
Ph: 513 946-4455   Fx: 513-946-4475   

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Local Alliance for Nature and Development for Hamilton County

LAND-HC Committee on Green Building

Committee Members  |  Strategic and Action Plans  |  Meeting Summaries  |  Links

Mission Statement

To balance development and environment through innovative practices that improve the quality of the built environment and preserve and sustain our natural resources.


The Committee on Green Building will further expand the knowledge and understanding of green building principals by promoting to our region the best green building practices and developing the most appropriate green building initiatives for our area.


The unique problem for this committee is the need to help introduce and familiarize both the development community and the regulatory agencies about the genuine effectiveness, documented economic benefits and overall appropriateness of innovative Green Building practices. To that end, the subcommittee will educate about and advocate for the voluntary use of the U.S. Green Building Councils Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Standards...[click here to collapse]

Green Building practices offer opportunities for both new and redeveloped sites to be built with innovative design principles that enable developments to seamlessly integrate with natural systems while offering economic paybacks absent from conventional development practices. Green Building practices will be the optimal way to redevelop brownfield sites and offer the best way to balance development and environment for new development.

At the present time, green building practices are not widely known or accepted but are quickly gaining interest and appreciation in the development community and the public sector. The Committee on Green Building has endeavored to get good word out about Green Building. It has met with local print media journalists and proposed that they cover actual green building projects within our region. During the spring and summer of 2006, there has been some good reportage in the local press on Green Building in our region (see LAND-HC Green Building in the Local News Links). Additionally, Mayor Mallory, Cincinnati City Council and the University of Cincinnati have taken several steps to advance the green building movement in the region. There are also many smaller local green building initiatives that will be presented below.



Mayor Mallory's Green Initiatives

Green Initiatives from the City of Cincinnati - Cincinnati Park Board

Cincinnati has its own home-grown green initiatives with City of Cincinnati Mayor Mallorys Green Initiatives. Mark Mallory actually included a Greenprint for Cincinnati as part of his platform. He also proposed to reinstitute the Office Environmental Management. For his Housing platform, Mallory recommended a focus on green buildings and tax incentives to build energy efficiency into buildings, both new and renovations".

At his State of City Speech on March 16, 2006, Mayor Mallory proclaimed that his administration will launch the City Green Initiative, a program coordinated by the Cincinnati Parks Department designed to enhance City services through green technologies. The Green Initiative will use creative strategies and innovative technologies such as solar and wind energy, community gateways and environmental education...[click here to collapse]

Click here for a power-point presentation of the City Green Initiative.

On December 12, 2006, Mayor Mallory, the Cincinnati Park Board and Duke Energy Representatives made public the Solar and Wind Energy Project, a City Green Initiative Project. This pilot project includes the installation of solar panels (donated by Duke Energy-$45,000) and a wind turbine to generate electricity for Parks Board Administration Building in Eden Park. The project is partly financed by a $60,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Developments Office of Energy Efficiency.

Most recently Mayor Mallory and Council Member Laketa Cole signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, thereby joining over 400 mayors working on global warming.

Also significant are the two motions put forward in May 2006 by Council Members Chris Bortz and Laketa Cole: one to grant tax abatements for commercial and residential development that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design--LEED certification and the other that all new and renovated municipal buildings meet LEED certification. These motions were approved by City Council in September 2006 as ordinance that states that Cincinnati will provide tax exemptions to home owners and commercial property owners who build or rehab according to LEED standards. Additionally, this new City Ordinanceestablishes a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to provide funding for developers of new and rehabbed low-income and mixed-income residential development.


University of Cincinnati's Sustainability Policy

UC Student Recreation Center

The other major green initiative in Cincinnati is the University of Cincinnatis Sustainability Policy. In recent years the University of Cincinnati has implemented about half of a major building (over $1 billion) campaign on the main campus in Clifton. The University was once satisfied with sponsoring facilities designed by world re-known architects. These buildings were located at the gateways of the campus according to the Master Planning efforts of Hargreaves Associates. More recently, however, a new, more sustainable path was chosen for the heart of campus known as the MainStreet area. Beginning with the Tangeman University Center addition and renovation (by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates and GBBN Architects), UC implemented a strategy to begin using the USGBC's LEED checklist to aid the design process. Currently, the Steger Student Life Center (by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners and Glaserworks) has gained the LEED rating of Certified. The recently completed Campus Recreation Center (by Morphosis and KZF Design) is currently under review by the USGBC for certification.

On January 6, 2006, the University of Cincinnati released Administrative Memo No.135 the Comprehensive Policy on Environmental Sustainability...[click here to collapse]

With the adoption of Admin Memo No. 135, the University committed to “promoting environmental stewardship and sustainability principles as it conducts its teaching, research and service missions, facility operations and enhancement of the physical Master Plan”.  This enhancement is actualized by U.C. adopting LEED Certification for its new buildings.  The U.C. Architect’s Office is pursing LEED Certification on nine of its new buildings – including new Student Recreation Center (see below).  Margo Pierce has written an article describing U.C.’s sustainability policy and its impact –“Building a Green Future 


Other Local Green Building Projects and Initiatives:

Cincinnati Zoo Harold C. Schott Education Center

Harold C Schott Education Center - Images of PG Discovery Forest and Solar Array

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens officially dedicated its $8.4 million dollar Harold C. Schott Education Center on October 5, 2006. The Education Center is notable in many ways. It is a collaborative effort with the leading donors being the Harold C. Schott Foundation, Proctor and Gamble, Frischs and with one of Ohios largest solar panel installation donated by Duke Energy. The Education Center will also house the Zoo Academy, a Cincinnati Public High School funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Cincinnati Public School District. In alignment with the Zoos mission to conservation of the natural environment, the Education Center was designed to meet the standards of U.S. Green Building Councils Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.





Greening Cincinnati Public Schools

In May 2006 the Cincinnati Board of Education heard the findings of a report on Sustainable High Performance School Design and Operation. The goal identified in the report was that Cincinnati Public Schools will build and operate sustainable high performance school facilities that are environmentally and fiscally responsible, healthy places to learn and work that promote student achievement...[click here to collapse]

The findings of the report presented objectives and strategies for incorporating in the CPS Building Standards "green" building design and use of the LEED Green Building Rating System (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) as promoted by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). http://www.cps-k12.org/board/bdminutes/May0806SpecReg.pdf

To expand the awareness and understanding of the greening of local schools, the Womans City Club of Greater Cincinnati, ALLY: Alliance for Leadership and Interconnection and the Cincinnati Public Schools have collaborated on presenting Green and Healthy Schools 2006-2007-Monthly Educational Series. This series is running from September 2006 to April 2007 and it includes one hour programs every third Thursday at the Board of Education Auditorium at the Mayerson Academy 2650 Highland Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45219 from 4:00 5:00 p.m.

An excellent article in education journal District Administration on the green building trend for schools titled The Grass is Greener On This Side features a detailed review of the Cincinnati Public Schools green building program.


University of Cincinnati and Energy Conservation

Conservation Last year the University of Cincinnati initiated a Dorm Energy Challenge (link) designed to educate the student body about energy conservation and savings. This year the University has allocated a significant amount of resources designed to improve the marketing and outreach campaign. The campaign consists of marketing and media tools, including a brand new website and fund dedicated to researching innovative strategies implemented at universities around the country.

For the past two years, Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection (LEAP) a student group at U.C. has been active in environmental projects on campus. In April 2006, LEAP received an award from Hamilton County Environmental Services as Best Student Group for its meet and greets and its entry into Recycle Mania, a recycling competition between universities started in 2001.


U.S. Green Building Council Cincinnati Regional Chapter
Educational Events

With strong support from the Hamilton County Environmental Services, for the past few years the Cincinnati Regional Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (http://chapters.usgbc.org/cincinnati/) has hosted numerous educational events concerning Green Building. Many of these events are targeted to design professionals but most are open to the public at a small service fee.

The 2007 Schedule for events can be seen here.


University of Cincinnati Solar Decathlon 2007

The University of Cincinnati was one of twenty universities selected to compete in the 2007 Solar Decathlon.  The Solar Decathlon is a international competition of the U.S. Department of Energy that sponsors student teams from universities in the United States, Canada and Europe to “compete in designing, building and operating highly energy-efficient, completely solar-powered houses”. ...[click here to collapse]

Each of the twenty student teams will receive $100,000 dollars over two years “to support the Solar Decathlon’s research goal of reducing solar-powered homes and advancing solar technology”.  In the fall of 2007, all twenty teams will construct their solar homes on the Capital Mall in Washington D.C. and the homes will be graded and judged. 

U.C. Solar Decathlon Team is operating within a interdisciplinary committee framework led by an Executive Committee composed of one student and one professor representing each of the primary disciplines of Architecture, Engineering, Industrial Design and Business.  The U.C. team has developed a WEB site where progress on the project is being presented http://www.uc.edu/News/NR.aspx?ID=5936

Links to Solar Decathlon:
Solar Decathlon – Photo Gallery of Homes

Solar Decathlon


University of Cincinnati Students for Ecological Design (SED)

A new University of Cincinnati student organization called Students for Ecological Design (SED) was initiated with the mission to bring together and transmit knowledge between a collective of people interested in the education, promotion and implementation of environmentally focused design. SEDs goals include: promoting sustainable and ecological design education, sponsoring student participation in workshops and conferences and playing an active role in raising environmental design awareness. SED has launched a WEB site and it can be accessed at http://daap.uc.edu/academics/design/sod_organizations/sed_org.html.


Civic Garden Center

After hosting a public lecture by guest speaker Astrid Hayarti, assistant to Mayor Daly on green development, the Civic Garden Center revealed plans to construct a green roof, rainwater collection, pervious pavement and/or passive solar energy at its facilities on Reading Road to act as a demonstration project and to monitor the performance of green roofs under local conditions.


Avondale Firestation

On September 19, 2006, the Cincinnati Fire Department held a groundbreaking ceremony for its first new firehouse in 24 years to be located at 4379 Reading Road. It will house Engine Co. #9, Heavy Rescue Squad #9 and Ambulance #9. City of Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, City Manager Milton Dohoney, City Council members, Cincinnati Fire Department officials commemorated the start of the development of the $3.75 million project. The 15,555 square foot building will be built to U.S. Green Building Councils Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.



The HOME House Project / Contemporary Arts Center / CNCURC

The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) featured an exhibition from May 6, 2006 to August 6, 2006 called The HOME House Project. This exhibition presented over 100 innovative plans for green affordable housing. The HOME House Project was organized by David J. Brown, Senior Curator of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. At the CAC, the exhibition sponsor was the Cinergy Foundation. The CAC identified the goal of the project--to establish a new national housing model in terms of design, energy efficiency, and environmental consciousness and cost effectiveness that can change the stigma attached to affordable housing.


Greening the Banks

The LAND-HC Committee on Green Building feels that the Banks development is an ideal opportunity to advance green building development in Cincinnati. Recently, the Committee has developed an initiative to approach the Banks Working Group to recommend Greening the Banks. Click here to read the the letter and attachments the Committee recently submitted to the Banks Working Group.

In September 2006, the Banks Working Group recommended AIG/Carter as the development group to oversee the development of The Banks. LAND-HC Committee on Green Building is supportive of the selection of AIG/Carter to develop The Banks considering the strong record AIG/Carter has attained in developing state of the art environmentally-sustainable, mixed-use urban developments as exemplified by Atlantic Station in Atlanta, Georgia. This WEB site intends to track the continuing development of The Banks and AIG/Carters involvement in this process...[click here to collapse]


LAND-HC Committee on Green Building Demonstration Project: Green Re-development and Affordable Green Housing in the Over-the-Rhine

Liberty & Main Proposed Green Rehab and Green Concepts

During the spring and summer of 2006, U.C. Professor Jennie Russell’s architecture studio classes became active collaborative partners with the LAND-HC Committee on Green Building with the development of a Green Building Demonstration Project that would exemplify green re-development and affordable green housing in the Over-the-Rhine (OTR).  The spring 2006 studio class was also a collaborative effort with the University of Cincinnati Community Design Center’s Niehoff Studio Programs Over-the-Rhine Project 2004-2006...[click here to collapse]

This spring studio included planning students as well as architecture students and addressed how to develop green urban housing in the Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati.  The students’ proposals addressed the development of new green affordable housing and green re-habilitating older buildings in the area north of Central Parkway and west of Main Street including sites on Mulberry Street and buildings at Liberty and Main Streets around the Don Crankshaft’s building.

Hamilton County Planning Staff and LAND-HC Committee Green Building Committee members met with the Spring Studio students and discussed the work of the Local Alliance for Nature and Development for Hamilton County (LAND-HC).  Planning Staff also recommended that the students review the recent work of William McDonough in China and the work of Bill Zunster and his BedZED development in England

In the end, the students developed some good general ideas for green development in the OTR that included their take on a green urban village and also green market rate housing.  The work of the students can be seen here (see “Spring 2006: Green Urban Housing” and click on images).  The students presented their work on Friday June 2, 2006 at a reception and exhibit at the Niehoff Studio in the Emery Center.  There was also a speaker’s panel on Sustainable Urban Development that included City of Cincinnati Council Member Chris Bortz, Steve Evans, Green City Builders and Jim Schenk, IMAGO founder. 

In the summer of 2006, Jennie Russell taught another studio class that built on the work of the spring studio discussed above.  These architecture students were tasked with the objective to further refine the work of the spring studio through research in appropriate materials and systems and application of LEED and sustainable design principals.  The students were to “create documents that educate developers, property owners, tenants, and policymakers about the social, economic and environmental benefits and viability of sustainable design for Over-the-Rhine and similar urban areas”. 

In the end, the students split into two design teams, one concentrating on a group of buildings surrounding the Don Crankshaft building at Liberty and Main streets and the other on two residential buildings on Mulberry Street.  The Liberty and Main Design Team worked on a site area that included the Don’s Crankshaft building and five other surrounding buildings—1601,1605, 1607 Main Street and 167,165,163,161 E. McMicken Avenue. .  Some of the highlights of this team’s design recommendations include developing a Cincinnati Center for Sustainable Design and a “living machine” demonstration project that would serve sanitary sewer requirements for study area

The Mulberry Street Residential Team concentrated on two existing residential buildings and the surrounding lots.  The students’ re-designs of the two Mulberry Street residential structures incorporated green and/or energy-efficient systems including a geoexchange systems, gray water system, energy efficient windows, trombe wall venting and infiltration, solar tubes, ceiling fans, insulation and solar gain.  The student teams developed an excellent report of their findings from the studio titled A Sustainable Vision for Mulberry St. which can be accessed here; A poster of the proposed Solar Systems for the Mulberry Street residential structures can be seen here.


Two Green Cities Case Studies in the Mid-West: Chicago and Cleveland

Two Green City Models in the Mid-West: Top Down Chicago Model with Grass Roots Cleveland Model--different benefits from both models -ie. for Chicago Mayor Daley has mandated sustainability policy internally for all departments; for Cleveland, the eco-village and strong, non-profits have influenced governmental policy towards adopting sustainability.

Two Green Cities: Chicago and Cleveland

Cincinnati and Hamilton County have two mid-west cities that can act as excellent models for adopting and implementing green, sustainable policies for public policy and private developmentthe City of Chicago and the City of Cleveland...[click here to collapse]

Mayor Daley has proclaimed that he wants to make Chicago the “greenest city in America”.  He has backed this up with implementing multiple green programs and significant governmental policy changes since his first being elected in 1989.  Mayor Daley’s green programs included planting over 500,000 trees, putting a green roof on City Hall, expediting building permits for those who are constructing green buildings, created a green roofs initiative that has resulted in over 200 public and private green roofs, mandating adoption of sustainability internally for all city departments and implementing public policy that requires all new city facilities be built to LEED certification.

For the past two years 2005 and 2006, the City of Chicago has published the Environmental Action Agenda: Building the Sustainable City, a comprehensive environmental plan and scorecard for what was achieved in the past year.  The 2006 Environmental Action Agenda Executive Summary cited the following accomplishments for 2005:

  • The City registered 22 municipal buildings for LEED certification
  • The Green Permit Program, launched in 2005, expedited 19 building permits for green building projects
  • Department of Housing funded 237 affordable housing units in environmentally-friendly residential areas
  • Twenty Chicago residents received grants of $5,000 each to help fund installation of green roofs on residential units
  • Department of Planning and Development required 60 building projects to have green roofs

Click here for the City of Chicago Environmental Action Agenda: Building the SustainableCity (2006)

City of Chicago Green Links:

City of Chicago Department of Environment City Hall Rooftop Garden

Chicago City Hall Green Roof

The Chicago Solar Partnership

The Living City: Nature, Design and the Greening of Chicago William McDonough

“Plants, grass on the rooftop? No longer an oddity.” Amanda Paulson, The Christian Science Monitor, July 10, 2006

“To Revitalize a City, Try Spreading Some Mulch” Keith Schneider, New York Times, May 17, 2006

#4 Chicago: The Wind at its Back

Eco City Cleveland

For the City of Cleveland, the greening was initiated by the grass roots and primarily from a group called Eco City Cleveland.  Eco City Cleveland describes itself as a non-profit environmental planning organization that promotes the design of cities in balance with nature in Northeast Ohio.  Eco City Cleveland was founded by David Beach in 1992 and for many years published the Eco City Cleveland Journal.  The Utne Reader called the publication “arguably the best local environmental publication in America”.  Eco City Cleveland has also created an excellent informational WEB site (see link below) that won PLANetizen Top 50 WEB site award in 2002.  Eco City Cleveland’s newest WEB endeavor is the Green City Blue Lake WEB site that describes itself as an “online presence where the people and organizations advancing sustainability in the region can tell their stories, learn from each other and develop strategies to accelerate progress”.

David Beach and Eco City Cleveland have collaborated on the development of the Cleveland Ecovillage.  The ecovillage is sited in the Detroit Shoreway area around a regional rapid transit station.  Eco City Cleveland describes this project as “a national demonstration project that will showcase green building and transit-oriented development” (see The Cleveland Ecovillage link below).  Beach and Eco City Cleveland were also instrumental in influencing elected officials in the City of Cleveland to create a Sustainability Programs Manager.  The Sustainability Programs Manager is housed in the Cleveland Department of Public Utilities and works with all city departments, City Council and other community partners “to create interdisciplinary programs to make Cleveland a greener, healthier and more prosperous city”.

Other strong players in greening of Cleveland include Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S) and the Greater Cleveland Green Building Coalition.  E4S claims “2,700 leaders” as members who are striving to put sustainability principals into action as “drivers for new business opportunities” and “tools to improve” the quality of life in Cleveland.  The Greater Cleveland Green Building Coalition is a non-profit dedicated to informing civic and business leaders and also the general public about the “economic, health and aesthetic benefits of green building.”  A collaborative project of all three of these groups and the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission is the Cuyahoga Valley Initiative.  This forward looking project seeks to re-imagine the Cuyahoga River Valley “through the lens of sustainability”.  The vision is to revitalize and regenerate this urban river valley “and make it once again an economic force, environmental force and unifying element for the region”.

Eco City Cleveland—now an archive site—with its last update on March 15, 2006

GreenCityBlueLake: The new WEB site for Eco City Cleveland

Entrepreneurs for Sustainability

Eco City Cleveland—Ecological Design—The Cleveland Eco Village

Eco City Cleveland—Cleveland hires Sustainability Programs Manager

Northeast Ohio Green Building Coalition

Designing a Regeneration Zone in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River Valley

Cuyahoga Valley Pilot Project

GreenCityBlueLake: Cuyahoga Valley Initiative

Cuyahoga Valley Initiative: A Model of Regeneration

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